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daytona. >>> pope benedict xvi gave his final blessing at the vatican before his resignation, officially stepping down on thursday. alex savage is live with more on some of the controversy surrounding the process to find his replacement. alex? >> reporter: the church's sexual abuse scandal could certainly play a role in the selection process moving forward. today, catholics around the world and here in the bay area are honoring pope benedict xvi as he steps down just days later on this week. earlier on this morning, the outgoing pope gave his final blessing at the vatican. >> yes, guys, they are right there. >> the 85-year-old spoke from his studio window addressing a huge crowd that packs st. peter square. estimated at roughly 100,000 people. the pope spoke in a clear, strong voice thanking the faithful for their closeness and affection and tried to reassure catholics that he is not abandoning the church. he'll be stepping down on thursday. the first pope to do so in 600 years. and then soon the search for the next pope will begin. a conclave of 120 cardinals will vote in vote on benedi
: the vatican is on the defense this morning. it denies claim from italian media that pope benedict decided to resign after getting a report from cardinals in december outlining corruption and homosexuality in the vatican. >> the pope's resignation takes effect on thursday. at a vatican news conference, we deseed that he started to move up the process of -- dear decided to move up the -- decided to move up the process of electing a new pope. the vatican today denied claims the pope is resigning under these claims. >> i don't worry they are being taken in by it. >> three cardinals authored the pope. the pope read this report in december and considered releasing it to other cardinals but instead the word is from the vatican he's putting it back in the papal abeat its waking the next pope's review. keith o'brien from scotland is being forced into early resignation. all of this is happening as california's 11 million catholics observe lent. live in washington, kyla campbell, ktvu channel 2 news. >>> peninsula state assemblyman jerry hill is calling for an audit of the state public utilities com
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